University of Kentucky senior forward Alex Poythress is one of four finalists named for the 2016 Arthur Ashe Jr. Male Athlete of the Year Award.
Poythress joined Corey Brown (men’s soccer at Queens University of Charlotte), Marcus Paige (men’s basketball at North Carolina) and Paul Pitts III (football at San Diego State) on the final list. The male and female athletes of the year will be announced April 7.
This year marks the third season Poythress has been named an Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar.
This year’s finalists were chosen from 30 semifinalists and more than 1,000 outstanding minority student-athletes nominated by their respective college or university.
In 1992, “Black Issues In Higher Education” magazine, now “Diverse,” established the Sports Scholars Awards to honor undergraduate students of color who exemplify the standards set by tennis great Arthur Ashe Jr.
In addition to their athletic ability, students named Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholars must exhibit academic excellence as well as community activism.
To be included, students need to compete in an intercollegiate sport, maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.2, and be active on their campuses or in their communities.
This year’s female finalists are Tennessee basketball player Andraya Carter, Dominican softball player Alyssa Domico and Northwestern soccer player Nandi Mehta.
Past recipients of the award include: NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III from Baylor, ESPN analyst and former Tennessee and WNBA player Kara Lawson, NFL Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk from San Diego State and former NBA coach and player Jacque Vaughn from Kansas.
Poythress concluded his UK career over the weekend with 966 career points, 597 rebounds and 77 blocks. He’s just the 12th player in Kentucky’s history to post 900 points, 500 rebounds and 70 blocks in a career.
In his final season at Kentucky, Poythress averaged 10.2 points and a team-high-tying 6.0 rebounds per game. He recorded four double-doubles, tied for second on the team.
The Clarksville, Tenn., native graduated in three years with a degree in business marketing. He earned a 3.517 undergraduate grade-point average and is now pursuing a master’s of science in kinesiology and health promotion with an emphasis on sport leadership. He finished his first semester of grad school with a 4.0 GPA.
Poythress has appeared on the SEC Academic Honor Roll during every year of college. He has been named to the athletic director’s honor roll three times, which honors the student-athlete with the highest GPA of his team.
Since his arrival on campus, Poythress has been a steady presence within the community. He’s contributed to various activities such as the God’s Pantry Food Drive and Samaritan’s Feet. He is often a volunteer for stops at local children’s hospitals, as well as appearances at local elementary schools.
Along with his teammates, he was involved in a Hurricane Sandy telethon, a clothing drive for the needy, and various meet-and-greets during the holidays. Furthermore, Poythress is a mainstay at UK basketball camps throughout the summer, serving as a camp counselor for kids of all ages.